Three Ways One Man is Empowering Africa’s Youth
Bible Society of Togo’s Kpomgbe Sees Future Based in the Bible
One evening in August 1997, 17-year-old Koffi Kpomgbe experienced a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. “I will never forget it. I had been a smart boy at school, proud of myself for being intelligent. Then, the Lord spoke to me and saw my nakedness, and I gave my life truly to Christ,” he explains.
Today, Kpomgbe combines his passion for God’s Word and his love for the children of Africa to help them manage the many challenges they face. Serving as president of the All Africa Baptist Youth Fellowship and as a youth officer with the Bible Society of Togo, he is working to provide a framework for spiritual development based on the Bible.
“If you don’t take this seriously as a ministry, we have all of the chances to lose this generation,” he says.
Kpomgbe identifies three major issues confronting youth in Africa.
First, he notes that they are struggling with their identity. Facing manipulation from a wide array of influences that include politicians, television, movies and social media, many of these children and teens lose sight of who their Creator wants them to be.
“We teach them to interact with Scripture to help them discover exactly who they are. We put on activities like leadership seminars. In Togo we use booklets like ‘Ten Commandments of Successful Youth.’ We have rules they must observe. They need to respect their parents, work hard, let God lead their lives,” Kpomgbe explains.
The second challenge is what Kpomgbe calls their sentimental life or their relationships. He explains that the Bible helps them to solve problems they have in their relationships: their families, communities, social lives and their marital lives.
“We are a people of community. We need to address that. The role they play—a mom, dad, key member of the community,” he says. “Specifically, we conduct activities where they debate to better understand each other. We provide a platform for the youth to interact and share what they are experiencing.”
The third pressing issue is poverty, and the Bible helps youth and teens deal with the social and physical effects of this widespread problem. “We need a holistic approach to address the youth looking for a better life. We need to nurture them to make them responsible for the development of their communities. The Bible helps them understand that the main point of life is to focus on what God has for them to prosper in all the aspects of their lives,” he explains.
In Togo, where more than 60 percent of the population is under age 25, Kpomgbe serves the Bible Society on the “Bible and Me/Me and the Bible” project. The effort, supported by American Bible Society, aims to mobilize young people of all Christian churches in the country and provide a foundation for the spiritual, cultural and socioeconomic development of youths through Bible-related activities. In addition, American Bible Society has named him a NextGen champion for Africa.
“I believe that the Bible is made to address holistically the needs of the people. It is the light that will shine and take away all kinds of darkness in the community. In John 8.12 Jesus says, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.’ If people have ears to hear this sound teaching, the Bible is the solution to the problem to this community today,” Kpomgbe adds.
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